|x||2||Blair Bateman (u20)|
|x||3||Ryan Milne (u20)|
|x||4||Danny McAlistair (u20)|
|80||x||5||Mark Anthony Byrne (u20)|
|x||6||Ryan Flannigan (u20)|
|x||7||Dylan O’Hagan (u20)|
|72||x||11||Cammy McKay (u20)|
|72||12||Conor McAteer (u20)|
|76||14||Andy McNee (u20)|
|80||15||Michael McGaraghan (u20)|
|16||Josh Devine (u20)|
Colts win Lowland League Cup Final!!
The young Colts travelled to New Tinto Park, Glasgow for the final of the Lowland League Development Cup Final desperate to mark the clubs inaugural season by lifting the their first senior trophy. Standing in their way however was an East Kilbride side still on a high after their own first teams Scottish Cup exploits against Celtic FC. Add to the mix the rivalry between the "New Towns" of Cumbernauld and East Kilbride and the ingredients were all there for an exciting cup final.
There has been little between the sides this year with the first teams battling out two draws and the development sides winning a game each, strangely enough both away wins. So it was a match that even the best pundit would struggle to predict.
A healthy crowd inside New Tinto Park saw the game kick off and the early exchanges were fairly even as both sides felt their way into the game. Gradually the Cumbernauld youngsters started to win a few challenges in the midfield area and began to pass the ball well creating a few half chances and push the game towards their opponents. However on 18 minutes they were dealt a blow when East Kilbride took the lead, arguably against the run of play. The Colts conceded a free kick 40 yards from goal which East Kilbride duly floated into the Colts box. The ball appeared to hold up in the wind which caught keeper Giles off guard and as the ball drifted to the back post, Flannigan lost the East Kilbride striker who done exceptionally well to slide the ball into the net from a tight angle to put his side in front.
An obvious blow to the youngsters but they roared back determined not to let the game run away from them. The Colts quickly went on the attack and only a brilliant save from goalkeeper Keane stopped a Pirrie thunderbolt levelling the scores. Good play on the right saw the ball played over to Fergus who held it up before laying it into the path of Pirrie who smashed it high towards the top corner. Keane somehow managed to dive acrobatically to his left and touch the ball up and over the bar.
Colts went close again moments later when McKay got himself on to the end of a Sheridan cross, but his diving header was saved by the keeper. The Cumbernauld youngsters were now putting pressure on East Kilbride and had a number of half chances and corner kicks. In 25 minutes, the Cumbernauld side got the equaliser their play deserved at this juncture of the match when some strong play by Flannigan released Sheridan on the right wing and his cross was met by the on rushing McKay who slotted the ball home to the obvious delight of his team mates.
East Kilbride lost a midfielder to injury and the Colts continued to press their opponents as they readjusted to the substitution. The youngsters now had the upperhand in the game and took the lead in 37 minutes. East Kilbride had pushed the Colts back into their own box when they won possession back and broke with devastating effect. Reminiscent of the earlier goal, they swept forward releasing Sheridan on the right and on the occasion it was Pirrie who arrived in the box to knock the low cross in from 8 yards out. No more than the Colts deserved and they went into half time with a precious one goal advantage.
Half Time 2-1
Colts were first to emerge from the dressing room and lined up without making any substitutions. Not content to sit back, Colts appeared to want to score a third rather defend their lead and started briskly. East Kilbride are tough opponents and they to were intent in clawing their way back into the game and looked to level the game as early as possible.
The Colts continued to move quickly and in 55 minutes Sheridan had a great opportunity to put the Colts further ahead when he darted onto a through ball leaving the defenders in his wake but unfortunately couldn't find the goal with only the keeper to beat. Shortly afterwards East Kilbride only partially cleared a corner which fell to Bateman and the young defender swept in a volley which the keeper managed to hold on the goal line.
Although always competitive, East Kilbride had not created many opportunities in front of goal as the Colts defenders had marshalled them well throughout the match. With this in mind, it would have been heart breaking for the youngsters to lose a second goal in the fashion they did. The Colts had defended a corner and had not fully cleared when a melee ensued and after a few desperate tackles and blocks by the Cumbernauld side pushed the ball to the edge of the box it was met by the East Kilbride midfielder who drove the ball towards goal. Unfortunately it took a wicked deflection of McAllistairs hip, wrong footing everyone including keeper Giles and nestled in the net.
Once more the Colts youngsters brushed themselves down and came back at their opponents. McAtear was introduced, replacing McKay who had worked tirelessly up front, and the substitutes pace was soon to pay dividends. A through ball appeared to be rolling into the keepers hands as he slid out to collect it, however McAtear had different ideas. The little hitman exploded onto the ball taking it away from the keepers grasp who was now fully committed and his momentum felled the striker. Penalty.
As the majority of the crowd stood silent such was the tension in the ground, Sheridan confidently placed the ball on the spot and executed the resultant kick firmly to the keepers left.
Colts made further substitutions with the introduction of McNee and McGaraghan as they fought to see the game out. As with all cup finals, inevitably East Kilbride threw everything at the Colts in the dying moments and O'Hagan did well to stop an effort in front of the goal. However, the night was to be Cumbernauld's and the referees final whistle was met with great cheers from the crowd.
A great cup final, played for by two good sides. The game was a great advert for the Lowland League and was commented on by many of the departing crowd. Praise to both teams who represented their clubs with desire, commitment and no shortage of quality football, both were a credit to their respective clubs.
Full Time 3-2